Rep Griffin casts vote to end burdensome driver responsibility fees

first_imgState Rep. Beth Griffin today voted for legislation that will eliminate driver responsibility fees and open a path for people to get their driving privileges restored.Griffin, of Mattawan, said she applauds the legislative package that eliminates an ill-conceived fee that people charged with driving offenses were forced to pay on top of court costs and fines related to their offenses. She said the fees caused financial hardships on hundreds of thousands of Michigan families.“People who were forced to pay driver responsibility fees often lost their main source of income because they had their driving privileges revoked, making it difficult to get to and from work,” Griffin said. “This created a situation in which people were unable to escape from deep debt, and were sometimes forced to depend on public assistance.”The fees were enacted by a previous administration dealing with a budgetary shortfall under the guise of using the fees to improve the driving habits of those paying them.Griffin said the legislation on its way to the governor will help people get back to work so they can earn a living and provide for their families.The legislation is now under consideration by the governor.##### Categories: Griffin News,News 14Feb Rep. Griffin casts vote to end burdensome driver responsibility feescenter_img Legislation opens door to restore driving privilegeslast_img read more

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Rep Calley hosts summer reading contest for area kids

first_img Categories: Calley News 25Jun Rep. Calley hosts summer reading contest for area kids State Rep. Julie Calley announced today she is sponsoring a summer reading contest for children first through fifth grade in Barry and Ionia counties. Rep. Calley, of Portland, has teamed up with several libraries in the area for the contest.Children are encouraged to read as many books as they can through August. The titles of completed books and number of pages read can be recorded on a bookmark provided to the libraries by Rep. Calley or downloaded and printed from her website. Readers must submit the bookmarks in the contest box at the listed local libraries or mail them to Rep. Calley’s office by Sept. 1 to be eligible to win. The winners, along with their family members, will be welcomed as guests of Rep. Calley at the state Capitol to be a Legislator for the Day.“The Legislator for a Day program received really positive reviews from participants last year,” Rep. Calley said. “The students and their families enjoyed the experience, and it was an honor to reward their outstanding efforts.”Libraries taking part in the contest include:Clarksville Area Library, ClarksvilleDelton District Library, DeltonFreeport District Library, FreeportGW Spindler Memorial Library, WoodlandPortland District Library, PortlandSaranac Public Library, SaranacThornapple Kellogg Community Library, Middlevillelast_img read more

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Channel 4 has partnered with mobile games firm Sub

first_imgChannel 4 has partnered with mobile games firm Subunderground for Pirate Quest, a new game that is due out later this year.All 4 Games, Channel 4’s gaming publishing arm, teamed up with Subunderground on the app, which tasks players with conquering seven pirate clans by shooting enemies, looting treasure and sacrificing crew to defend their ships.“All 4 Games have been an incredible help in completing Pirate Quest. They instantly understood our vision for the game, and their support has enabled us to throw ourselves into delivering a beautiful, fun experience, while they ensure we can reach as many players as possible,” said Harvey Greensall, co-founder of Subunderground.Colin MacDonald, head of All 4 Games, added: “It’s been great working with the guys at Subunderground on their first game as a company, as they bring an artistic edge that makes their games so engaging and user friendly.”Channel 4’s Glasgow based games arm launched in summer 2015 with the aim to release Channel 4-funded mobile games and games from third party developers as part of an aggregated All 4 Games brand. Its first three titles, Fire Fu, Super Arc Light and Apestorm, were unveiled in January.last_img read more

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Hospital Insurance 2030

first_img Hospital Insurance 2030 Some of you may be aware that investment guru Harry Dent has publicly stated that gold will fall to $250-$400. He specifically predicted: Around $700/ounce is a certainty in gold by 2015 to 2016, and $250 is a possibility well down the line by 2020–2023. His forecast is largely based on his belief that deflation will prevail. Governments are fighting deflation. If government stimulus fails, we will have deflation, not inflation. And he claims that gold bugs are wrong about gold’s future price because they don’t understand how markets work. Central bank stimulus has created a whole new set of financial asset bubbles that will have to burst. That is its consequences, not rising inflation that most gold bugs (who do understand the financial and debt crisis) warn about. As a gold analyst who’s spent every day of the last seven-plus years watching this market, I can’t let this pass. I’m sure gold will not fall to $700, much less $250-$400—not in real terms (who knows if the US dollar will even exist in 2020?… Or maybe there will be new dollars with several zeros cut off). Is this just because I’m a stubborn gold bug? No, because I agree that we’re seeing some deflation, too. But I definitely think some type of crisis is headed our way, and gold does well in crises—even deflationary ones. Is it perhaps because I don’t like Mr. Dent? Not at all—at my suggestion, he was a speaker at one of our Summits. Quite simply, I think Harry Dent is resoundingly wrong. And I’m so sure he’s wrong that this is a public invitation to him to enter a wager with me and put his money where his mouth is, which I’ll detail momentarily. Why Harry Dent Is Wrong There are a number of reasons why I think Mr. Dent will be wrong about the future gold price… 1. Deflation does not guarantee lower gold. It’s true that some significant deflationary forces have developed. Check out what’s occurred since early November. The 10-year Treasury fell to a paltry 1.7% yield. July to December, 2008; Other European countries have seen a spike in gold demand due to the massive QE effort undertaken by the ECB and the anti-bailout party winning in Greece. German coin dealer Degussa reported a 35% year-on-year increase in gold coin sales in January. The Austrian Mint said sales of Vienna Philharmonic gold coins rose 6% last month. So the investor who’s convinced deflation is coming shouldn’t overlook the fact that other factors can lead investors to buy gold. Keep in mind that most true deflations cause a crisis—or are caused by a crisis—and for thousands of years, crises have pushed people into gold. Consider how gold has performed during high periods of crisis and fear as measured by the VIX. Pension Benefit Corp 2024 According to the Financial Times, there is now $3.6 trillion of government debt around the world with negative interest rates. Two-year government bonds are negative in Germany, Finland, Austria, Denmark, France, Holland, Belgium, Slovakia, Sweden, and Japan. These are all serious deflationary trends. But what has gold done during that period? It is up 7.5%. Even gold’s negative correlation with the dollar has bucked its trend. The Baltic Dry Index, generally regarded as the best known global shipping index, is now at its lowest level ever. *Returns exclude dividends Dome Mines $6 $39.50 558% Commodity indexes have fallen by over a third. Highway Trust Fund 2016 During these eight periods of high systemic risk, gold rose every time but one—and stock markets fell in all of them. This doesn’t mean the price couldn’t decline in the initial phases of a crisis, but it does show that gold is strong when fear is high. 2. True deflation will lead to higher inflation. If we do get massive deflation, it will actually spur greater inflation. Why? Here’s a hint… An emergency meeting was held just last week regarding the solvency of the Disability Trust Fund. The problem is that benefits have exceeded tax receipts for several years now, and the shortfall has reached roughly 35%. The government itself has said the fund will officially go bankrupt next year. It’s not the only one. Old Age Insurance 2034 Since the turn of the century, gold and the DXY index have both finished higher year over year five times—in 2001, 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2011. So why has gold risen during some of the most ominous deflationary trends we’ve seen in a long time? Because what has been supportive for the dollar has also been good for gold. In other words, gold is not just about inflation vs. deflation. Nor is it about the USD vs. the euro or even supply vs. demand. It’s about fear and chaos vs. confidence and stability. Here are some recent examples of people buying gold for reasons other than inflation: Greek demand for gold coins from the UK Royal Mint has risen as a result of the country’s political and financial turmoil. They’re buying because, as Matthew Turner of Macquarie Bank put it, “The one thing everyone knows about gold is it is a good thing to hold if your currency is about to devalue.”center_img The oil price dropped to $50. Homestake Mining $65 $373 474% This dollar/gold relationship has broken down other times, too. According to the Wall Street Journal: From January 11 to June 10, 2010, the DXY (US Dollar Index) rose almost 16%—but gold climbed nearly 12%. January retail sales recorded the worst back-to-back decline since October 2009. And did you know that Social Security took in $752 billion in 2013, but paid out $822 billion in benefits? It and Medicare are clearly on an unsustainable path, too. Yes, this is all deflationary. But here’s the question: how will the Fed and politicians respond? They might reduce or delay benefits and raise taxes, but those are politically costly moves, and some officials have already publicly stated that they will print what they don’t collect in revenue. Printing money is extremely inflationary, especially when you’ve already more than tripled the monetary base since 2008. Frankly, doing more of the same scares me, because someday all this monetary dilution will come home to roost. We face the very real possibility that the US currency will not just be damaged; it could be destroyed. History is very clear on this point: currency crises lead to flights to gold. But if Deflation Wins First… But what happens to gold if we first go through a deflationary bust? There aren’t a lot of modern-day examples of deflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), as faulty as it may be, has registered only four declines since 2000, and all were short-lived. The CPI fell: August to October, 2006; March and April, 2009; and Company Stock Price 1929 Stock Price 1933 Total Gain* During a period of soup lines, crashing stock markets, and falling standards of living, investors fled to the only gold with liquidity they could own at the time. Gold’s status as a safe-haven asset during one of the greatest times of economic distress was demonstrated clearly by investors buying the stocks. So while we don’t know exactly what an untethered gold price would have done during the Depression, history says it will retain its purchasing power in a deflationary setting regardless of its nominal price. In other words, while the price of gold might not rise or could even fall, it would still provide monetary protection against an unstable economic environment, especially when you consider that most other assets would be in decline. All this said, the overriding concern is that in a fiat system—like the one the entire globe uses today—any deflation will be met with an inflationary overreaction by central bankers. And the worse the deflation, the more extreme the overreaction will be. As we’ve pointed out before, inflation will win in the end because it always gets another turn. Think about it: for central banks to be “successful” with their measures, the end result must be inflation. Someday soon they’ll get what they want. And when it shows up, the delayed effects of all the money created to that date will start to take hold, meaning there won’t be “just a little” inflation. Gold will soar in that environment, not fall. Of course, it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing. We can have both inflation and deflation, AKA stagflation, like we had in the late 1970s/early 1980s. That’s still good for gold. 3. Gold is already at its cost of production. Another reason I’m sure Mr. Dent will be wrong is that $700 is about $400 below the current global average cost of gold production. Even at $1,100 gold, roughly half of the primary gold producers lose money. The reason is because the World Gold Council’s all-in sustaining cost metric excludes taxes and interest payments (among other items). Adding those in pushes many companies into the red when gold averages $1,100. A $700 gold price would be 36% below the current cost of production. That (much less a $250 or $400 price) would kill the industry. But the sector won’t shut down, because the world needs and wants gold. The Bottom Line The basis of my argument is that there is no free lunch from the free-for-all actions central bankers have engaged in since 2008. Inevitably, the future purchasing power of our fiat money will be impacted. I thus think some kind of currency crisis hits in the future, perhaps sooner than skeptics like Harry Dent can imagine. There are many examples of what happens to gold during a currency crisis. Last year provided another glaring example. Russia’s inflation rate was 11.4% in 2014, and the ruble fell a staggering 46.5%—but gold in rubles rose 73%. In other words, Russians gained more with gold than they lost in ruble purchasing power. This didn’t occur just in conflict-ridden Russia. The price of gold rose against all currencies in 2014—except the US dollar. Gold was up in the euro, Japanese yen, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar, British pound, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Chinese renminbi, Indian rupee, Swedish krona, Brazilian real, Israeli shekel, and South Korean won. As Eric Sprott put it, “Last year, 84% of the world’s population would have made money owning gold because of various currency moves—even though gold in US dollars was down approximately 1%.” We should expect the same reaction with gold in our currency when the odoriferous effluvia hits the fan. Gold is not really a commodity or even an investment; it is an alternate currency and a store of value. And if ever there was a period in history for it to be sought as a store of value, the next few years will be among the most acute. Both gold and the US dollar have been pursued during the recent times of distress—but the dollar as a “safe haven” is at high risk. It may rise further yet, but it’s far from healthy; the US is the largest debtor nation in the history of mankind. There are more reasons—I’m sure you can think of others yourself—but let’s get to the wager. The Bet Mr. Dent, I will bet you an ounce of gold that the gold price never falls to US$700, including intraday, for even one second, within the next two years, based on Comex pricing. You stated in January 2014 that “$700 is a certainty by 2015 to 2016,” so I’m giving your forecast even longer to work than you originally projected. We’ll each store a one-ounce gold Eagle with an independent third party, who will pay the two ounces to the winner the day the bet is concluded, which is two years from today, February 16, 2017. If gold touches US$700 at any point in that time frame, you win. If, however, gold never reaches $700, this lunatic gold bug who doesn’t understand how financial and debt crises works wins the bet and takes your ounce of gold. I hope you’ll take me up on the bet, because that’s about the time my son will finish his PhD program, and an ounce of gold will make a nice graduation present for him. It will also reinforce the ideas he’s formed on his own about money, as well as the fact that his dad is a stud. I do have to give you fair warning, though: I’m so confident that I’ve already identified a third party, and I will give you its mailing address once you shake my digital hand. Mr. Dent, do you really think gold will fall to $700? A gold Eagle says you’re wrong. I await your reply… I’m not just going to win this bet, but I’ll win big with my equity investments, because gold stocks will deliver the leverage to gold that they have many times in the past, especially since they’ll rise from depressed levels. I plan to make a killing on some special situations—and I have one right now: a new recommendation in the current issue of BIG GOLD. It’s one that tripled my money in the last bull cycle and will do it again in the next one. Easy money will be made if you buy now, and our brand-new recommendation is available with a risk-free trial to BIG GOLD. After the Swiss central bank introduced a 0.75% negative interest rate on some deposits last month, investors bought more gold in lieu of holding Swiss franc cash deposits, according Vontobel Holding AG, a Swiss bank and wealth manager. “We keep noticing that gold is coming back into favor with investors,” said CEO Zeno Staub. December, 2014. That’s it. You can find other fleeting periods further back, but nothing long enough to draw any strong conclusions. The only example we have of true deflation is the Great Depression. You’ll recall that the United States was on a gold standard at the time. But there’s still a lesson to be learned. First, on April 5, 1933, President Roosevelt issued an executive order forcing delivery (confiscation) of gold owned by private citizens to the government in exchange for compensation at the fixed price of $20.67/oz. Less than nine months later, he raised the gold price to $35, effectively diluting the dollar in every wallet 41% overnight and swindling everyone who had turned in gold. So even in the midst of one of the biggest deflations the world has ever seen, the US government raised the gold price. Second, the only way citizens could effectively own gold after Roosevelt’s confiscation was to buy gold stocks. How did they perform? Well, when the stock market crashed in 1929, gold stocks were part of the general wreckage. The market then rallied and recovered almost 50% of its losses by April 1930, with gold shares again tagging along. It’s what happened next that gives us another clue about gold and deflation… When the bear market resumed in the summer of 1930, all securities sold off again—except gold stocks. Gold shares stayed basically flat until early 1931, when their appeal to the masses kicked into high gear. Look at how shares of Homestake Mining, the largest gold miner in the US at the time, and Dome Mines, Canada’s senior producer, performed during the Great Depression. Disability Trust Fund 2016 Projected Government Bankruptcieslast_img read more

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Leyla Hussein had mixed feelings when she found ou

first_imgLeyla Hussein had mixed feelings when she found out that Queen Elizabeth II was naming her an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her work to eliminate female genital mutilation.”I had to think hard about whether to accept,” she says, citing the British history of colonialism. But in the end, proud of being British and living in a country that took in her parents as refugees from Somalia, she accepted the honor, along with fellow activist Nimco Ali.As young girls, both Hussein and Ali underwent female genital mutilation, or FGM, the practice of cutting a young girl’s genitals, typically as a coming-of-age ritual. Across the world, an estimated 200 million women have undergone FGM.The two women and Sainab Abdi are co-founders of Daughters of Eve, a British nonprofit that “recognizes FGM as gender-based violence,” provides services to victims of FGM and lobbies the government to end the practice in the U.K. and beyond. Based in part on their efforts, last November the U.K. pledged £50 million to help eliminate FGM across Africa. Last weekend, the queen recognized Ali and Hussein at her annual Birthday Honours Ceremony with the OBE award, presented to individuals who have made contributions to arts and sciences or had distinguished careers in public service or charitable organizations.NPR, which has interviewed Hussein and Ali in the past, caught up with the two women to find out about their recent work, what this award means to them and what still needs to be done to stop the practice of FGM.The interviews have been edited for length and clarity.Congratulations on the award! How did it feel to receive this honor from the queen? Hussein: To be honest, I’m not the biggest royal fan. I had to put up a statement to be clear I wasn’t. [But] a group of people discussing FGM in a room is always a plus.Me and Nimco have opposite feelings about it, because she is supportive of the royals and the current government, and I’m critical of the current government. At the same time, this is a democratic country. [Even though] I have an opposing feeling about the current government, I can still be recognized. Colleagues around the world who said anything against the government, their lives would be in danger, it would be catastrophic. My country can still recognize my efforts, which is great.Ali: It was incredibly humbling. I ended up getting the letter the day before I had to reply. It came to my brother’s house, he said, “oh there’s a letter from the queen and it says you have to reply by Monday morning!” I had to take a picture and email it to them (laughs).There are other women tackling FGM that have been awarded before us. [The award] just gives more visibility to the campaign, and ultimately it’s raising the conversation, saying we’ve achieved a lot.We have to raise the bar in the U.K., and we know we need to end FGM, but now we can say, these are the successes we’ve had.What are some of those successes?Ali: From a U.K. perspective, there has been incredible legislative change. We lobbied parliament to add FGM to the Children Act, [which criminalizes violence against children]. Now, British girls have more rigorous protection than they ever had. If a child is at risk of FGM, the state can step in and be their guardian.Hussein: We are talking about it, so that’s a big progress. But we’ve got a lot of work to do. Until there are convictions for FGM practitioners under the U.K.’s child abuse laws], I won’t see any progress.We’re certainly better than we were ten years ago; it’s important to remember the women before us, who took more backlash than we did. But I’ve been coming out of a 48-hour online trolling because of my OBE [award]. I think someone’s gonna physically harm me, they’re threatening to rape and kill me or hurt my child. I have a panic alarm in the house. It’s crazy. People need to realize we’re taking a huge risk when we do this. It’s scary. I’ve been taking snapshots of messages all day that I send to police. I have a police officer I work with directly, and that shouldn’t be the case.What are some of the biggest misconceptions about FGM?Hussein: People keep calling it ritual or cultural practice, which minimizes what it actually is. There’s nothing ritual about violating children.And it’s not [just] an Africa or Asia issue. I was in the U.S. and met white women from Kentucky who’ve had FGM done. Their parents were conservative Christians working in Guinea and thought it would be a great idea to have them mutilated. The idea of controlling women is where it comes from. It’s important to see this as the bigger problem it is.To any white American, anyone who might not feel connected to this subject, I would say: If you’re someone who understands that women all over the world are oppressed, this is no different.Some Kenyan groups, like Maasai Sisters, are going to dramatic lengths to protect girls from FGM — like taking them out of their homes and placing them in school. What do you think of these kinds of efforts? Ali: A lot of the [best] work is coming from grassroots activists, women who are survivors of FGM themselves. In Somaliland, [where I’m from], we’ve been lobbying our president to get legislation, opening up conversation around an issue that’s so taboo. Change is possible but not inevitable. To get change to happen, it should be led by women survivors.Every country has its own ways of working. The idea that every FGM-affected community needs the same mechanisms — that’s what NGOs think — is a fallacy.In the Gambia, there’s an incredible woman named Jaha Dukureh, she’s a Gambian-American [who] ended up chasing down the president to pass legislation against FGM. Soon, she’s holding a summit in Senegal that’s the first survivor-led conference on the issue. Women in Africa are taking charge, and I think we have a duty to deliver the support they need to end FGM in their own community.Susie Neilson is an intern on NPR’s Science Desk. Find her on Twitter at @susieneilson. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit read more

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SAINTS fixture at Widnes Vikings has been brought

first_imgSAINTS’ fixture at Widnes Vikings has been brought forward two days to Friday March 13, 2015. The game was originally due to be played on the Sunday but with Warrington visiting Langtree Park the following Thursday, it has been moved in line with the RFL’s policy on player welfare. We are grateful to Widnes for agreeing to rearrange the fixture. Blake Solly Super League General Manager said: “Sky has established Thursday night rugby league as a particular focus of its Super League coverage. As a governing body and working in conjunction with the Super League clubs we will be required to manage the ramifications of this broadcasting slot. “We appreciate that player welfare must be considered wherever possible in managing the short turnaround that can be caused by playing on a Thursday evening. The RFL will therefore accept requests for any club involved in a Thursday night fixture to move its previous Sunday fixture to a Saturday or Friday. “We are grateful to Widnes Vikings and all our member clubs who have worked with us to manage the fixture amendments for the forthcoming season.”last_img read more

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UCLA Anderson Professor Published In Wall Street Journal

first_img About the AuthorJillian MarkowitzView more posts by Jillian Markowitz UCLA Anderson Professor Published In Wall Street Journal Last Updated Jun 23, 2017 by Jillian MarkowitzFacebookTwitterLinkedinemail regions: Los Angelescenter_img RelatedLA Small Business Growth, UCLA Time Management Advice, and MoreTake a look at some of the top stories coming out of the Los Angeles business schools this week. The Growing Role of the CIO – Wall Street Journal Vijay Gurbaxani, professor of business and computer science at the the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, recently sat…March 29, 2018In “Featured Home”The Connection Between Social Mobility and Democracy, and More – Chicago NewsLet’s explore some of the most interesting stories that have emerged from Chicago business schools this week. Is Social Mobility Essential to Democracy? – Kellogg Insights Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management professor of managerial economics and decisions sciences Georgy Egorov, along with MIT Sloan’s Daron Acemoglu and Chicago Booth’s…April 19, 2018In “Chicago”Best Business Schools for Marketing, Part IIThis article originally appeared in its entirety on Last week we took a close look at two of the giants among business schools when it comes to training the next generation of marketers. A professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management literally wrote the book on marketing—or at least…April 14, 2016In “Featured Home” Shlomo Benartzi, a professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, recently wrote a piece for the European edition of The Wall Street Journal that explained a phenomenon called “narrow framing,” which often prevents investors from attaining success.Benartzi explains that narrow framing occurs when people make investment decisions without being able to see the big picture. He describes narrow framing as “a tendency to see investments without considering the context of the overall portfolio.” In order to deduce if people were vulnerable to narrow framing, Benartzi posed a gambling question: “Would you accept a bet in which you win $200 if the coin lands on heads and lose $100 if it lands on tails?” Many people will turn down this offer, even when offered to place the bet twice, which significantly increases odds of earning money.With one of his colleague’s, Richard Thaler, Benartzi asked coffee shop patrons about a similar bet. Most patrons did not accept the initial coin flip offer, and found the prospect of placing the bet twice even less appealing. The percentage of subjects accepting the wager dropped by nearly a quarter.The researchers then framed the question to patrons differently: “You have a 25 percent chance of winning $400, a 50 percent chance of winning $100 and a 25 percent chance of losing $200. Would you accept this bet?”With this explanation of the odds of the same bet, acceptance rates went up by 50 percent. This speaks to narrow framing, as many patrons were considering each coin flip individually, rather than examining the overall odds of winning money. Benartzi explains that the best way to achieve long-term goals is to avoid getting fixated on short-term losses and achieve a balance in educated risk-taking.Benartzi is a behavioral economist, who has done a multitude of research on helping people foster sound decision making skills. His book, The Smarter Screen, is a guide to promoting smarter online choices.last_img read more

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Amazon Considers Supermarkets Staffed by 3 People

first_img Register Now » There’s also a fleet of robots ensuring orders get filled. Amazon February 6, 2017 Amazon Considers Supermarkets Staffed by 3 People Next Article In December last year, Amazon unveiled its vision of grocery shopping called Amazon Go. It involves no lines or registers, just you, an app and a completely automated shopping experience that should appeal to just about everyone. Here at PCMag we have a few reservations, but a test store in Seattle is planned to open this year to prove it can work.Beyond that, Amazon is apparently toying with the idea of opening larger supermarkets. According to the New York Post, a two-story store of between 10,000 and 40,000 square feet is under consideration. Where as the Amazon Go store is for convenience, a supermarket would cater to your entire weekly shop.A store that big would offer 4,000 items for sale. However, unlike a typical supermarket manned by dozens of staff, Amazon’s version requires only three human employees to function and a maximum of 10 employees per shift.Such a small number of staff is made possible due to two of Amazon’s key pieces of technology: automation and robots. As we saw in December, Amazon isn’t interested in customers lining up to pay for their goods. Amazon Go automates that entire experience.The New York Post explains that the few staff required will be split across restocking shelves, signing up customers to Amazon Fresh, manning a drive-thru window for order collection and helping robots bag groceries. I’d imagine the number of staff would vary with how busy the store got at different times of the day and week, but it would still never exceed 10.On the one hand, this sounds great for anyone who hates waiting in line and wants more than a convenience store. On the other, if this proves popular and works faultlessly, it doesn’t bode well for the future of jobs at supermarkets. Where Amazon succeeds others will surely follow. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business –sharescenter_img Add to Queue 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Image credit: Amazon | Youtube Matthew Humphries Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Senior Editorlast_img read more

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Is Alaska Poised to Be the Best State for Pot

first_img Next Article Is Alaska Poised to Be the Best State for Pot? 6 min read Andre Bourque Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. –shares Download Our iOS App Image credit: PromesaArtStudio | Getty Images Guest Writer Add to Queue Free Green Entrepreneur App Cannabis Journalist | Tech Evangelist Covering High Growth Trends June 14, 2017 The marijuana market has been volatile since the elections of November 2016. Enthusiasm greeted passage of state laws that liberalized and/or decriminalized possession and use for medical or recreational purposes. Confusion over administrative delays threatens to stifle the realization of many of these laws.Alaska provides a study in the confusion. It leads some to wonder: Is Alaska poised to be the best state for pot? If this handy tourist guide to enjoying Alaska’s now-relaxed cannabis laws is any indication it very well may be.Related: Science and FDA Say Cannabis Is Medicine but DEA Insists It Isn’tWell now isn’t that a fancy little fence they made there. As if. #akcannaco #hempcoak #chillalaska #alaska #cannabis— akcannaco (@akcannaco) June 3, 2017Where the cannabis culture finds itself.February 17, 2017 saw the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) of California asserted at a press conference, “We’re stepping forward together to say we’ve got to make major changes in our country’s attitude toward cannabis… And if we do, many people are going to live better lives, it’s going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government.”Rep. Don Young (R-AK) added, “my goal is to make sure that if I’m in the business, like we have quite a few in Alaska now, as they do this business, they can run it as a business… Get loans from banks, and put the revenue back into the banks, as every other business does.”Rep. Rohrabacher has also introduced a Federal Marijuana Policy that should serve to protect people from having marijuana-related prosecutions under the Controlled Substances Act. That is assuming that these people were acting in compliance with all state laws.Related: Congressional Cannabis Caucus Unites to Protect Marijuana IndustryWhere Alaskans find themselves.The Supreme Court of Alaska ruled 40 years ago that the Alaskan Constitution protected marijuana possession and use under the right to privacy, but the state found itself back and forth on the issue for three decades. It was not until a 2014 election that the court ruling was written into law. Alaskan voters approved the law by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, with the law taking effect February 25th, 2015.That 47 percent represents a still-strong conservative constituency that some fear will repudiate the law or interfere with its execution and administration. For instance, Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board (MCB) struggles to deliver the law’s intent. Cynthia Franklin, former board director and a former prosecutor, admits, “We are struggling… I’ve tried a death penalty capital murder [case] and this is harder than that.”Absent clarity on what is legal and what is not, law enforcement appears to lay off prosecution. In 2014, Matt Ferner, writing for Huffington Post, predicted, “By 2020, Alaska’s legal retail marijuana market would grow to approximately 13 metric tons, adding $23 million in taxes to state coffers, according to the report. First-year legal sales are projected at $55 million, reaching $106 million by 2020.”But, it doesn’t look like that will happen at the pace predicted. Without clarification in the law and administrative guidance, the state’s share of revenue isn’t likely to improve soon. Alaskan habits are likely to stay the same as they’ve been. In other words, people will grow for their own use and buy in a still thriving black market.Related: Here’s Where Colorado Spends Its Skyrocketing Pot Tax RevenueThe smoking lounge issue.Brothers James and Giono Barrett have thrown a new hat in the ring. They want customers at their retail store to have the freedom to smoke while on the premises. The idea is to create smoking lounges in already legal retail dispensaries where smokers could purchase, light up and sit back.If the Alaska MCB approves their idea, problems would have to be worked out regarding security, ventilation and layout. The Barretts and other advocates envisioned “Green Zones” in port cities where tourist ships dock. Those tourists include weed connoisseurs looking to try some of Alaska’s local strains.However, a February 2, 2017 decision by the Alaska MCB vetoed the idea in a 3 to 2 vote. The report in said Board Member Mark Springer feared raising a red flag before the Trump administration. Loren Jones claimed he was representing the concerns of his constituents. Finally, Sara Chambers of Alaska’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office pointed out that the public notice had not been prepared correctly.Related: How to Grow a Cannabis Farming Business in the Blazing Marijuana Economy The “sit back and enjoy” conclusion.Alaskans are a hearty bunch. Strongly independent, they favor conservative politics of the Libertarian sort. They don’t stand for federal intervention. They stay inclined to do things their own way.You can assume that part of the apparent conservative position on the November 2016 proposition was attached to the Trump vote. And, the average Alaskan would stick with their Constriction’s protection of privacy rights.At the same time, they aren’t likely to flaunt their individuality or make it the center of attention. Having passed the new law, they will let the administrative wheels turn. For the time being at least, there isn’t a rush to open pot cafes.When the stores open and the taxes roll into Juneau, specific marketing suggestions like licensing cannabis tours and permitting on-site consumption will carry more weight. For example, the potential for income from cruise ship tourists will swing some votes.If Alaska is poised to be the best state for good pot, the smoking lounges could change the game. Putting Alaska on the map for cannabis tours and marijuana stops makes a lot of economic sense, but Alaskans must determine if that’s the image they want to create and share. Cannabis Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The tourism industry sure hopes so but Alaska shows how difficult is the transition from illegal to legal, even with voter approval.last_img read more

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Walmart Will Soon Have Robots Roaming the Aisles in 50 Stores

first_img Reporter The robots go up and down the aisles, scanning for out-of-stock items, incorrect prices and wrong or missing labels. Dennis Green Walmart Will Soon Have Robots Roaming the Aisles in 50 Stores –shares Walmart The robots autonomously roam up and down the aisles of the store, picking out errors it sees. October 27, 2017 Register Now » Image credit: Walmart Walmart’s robot fleet is expanding.The retailer has been testing the robots in a small number of stores in Arkansas and California. It is now expanding the program and will have robots in 50 stores by the end of January.The robots scan aisles for out-of-stock items, items put in the wrong place by customers, incorrect prices and wrong or missing labels. They continuously go up and down the aisles of the store, alerting human employees of errors it sees. That makes employees more efficient at correcting errors and automates a task employees say they don’t like.The robots are designed to free up store employees’ time so they can use it to help customers. Image credit: WalmartWalmart CTO Jeremy King told Reuters that the robots are 50 percent more efficient than a human doing the same task. They can also scan shelves three times more quickly and are a lot more accurate. Human employees can only scan shelves about twice a week, King said.The robots are shaped like 2-foot-tall towers on wheels and are equipped with cameras that can spot errors.The robots are just one part of Walmart’s plan to make stores more efficient and easier for customers to shop.The robots are much more efficient than a human at the task of scanning store shelves. Image credit: Walmart 2 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business This story originally appeared on Business Insider Next Article Add to Queuelast_img read more

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The Savvy Reason There Are Robot Strippers for CES

first_imgMarketing Next Article Stephen J. Bronner Entrepreneur Staff We can’t help but think this is a very smart move, but we also have questions. 131shares January 10, 2018 The Savvy Reason There Are Robot Strippers for CES Add to Queuecenter_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. 3 min read News Director Let’s just get this out of the way: most women do not want to go to a strip club, especially during a business conference.But, that’s the intent behind Sapphire Las Vegas’s introduction of — we’re really in the future now — robot strippers to its stage during this year’s CES.”We were looking for something creative to do during CES that would sort of match what was happening in town,” Sapphire Managing Partner Peter Feinstein told The Daily Beast in an article with the excellent headline, “Do Androids Cry After Stripping in Vegas for CES?”Related: The CEO of Huawei Totally Went Off Script at CES and Ripped U.S. Carriers After an AT&T Deal Fell ApartHe continued, “If you’re six people from a company and there’s two women and four guys, you can still [come] here and have some fun and see the robots and not feel like you have to be part of a strip club.”It’s clear Sapphire doesn’t take the whole thing too seriously. The club placed buckets for tips near the robots that read “MIT bound” and “Need money for batteries.”Of course, launching a stunt such as this around an expo is usually a surefire way to get media attention. But, it’s also a smart strategy to come up with new things to appeal to potential new customers. CES attendees are in town to check out the latest technology, and may not want to spend the time gawking at scantily dressed women. This is giving customers what they want.That is, if what they want are female-figured robots with security cameras for heads shaking their robutts. (The robots were created by an artist named Giles Walker as a statement on voyeurism.)The plan seems to have been on target. After all, people weren’t offended. Instead, they wanted more advanced stripper robots.Related: CES 2018 Photo Gallery: Our Favorite Things We’ve Seen (So Far)”I’ve seen robots do much more complicated things than these ones are doing now,” a tech worker named Adam told The Daily Beast. “So I’m a little underwhelmed. You look at stuff on YouTube, I mean robots can operate on your brain and do really precise things now. These are a little too mechanical.”That’s a good thing. After all, stripping is one of the few industries that hasn’t been impacted by automation. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Enroll Now for $5 Image credit: Alex Wong | Getty Imageslast_img read more

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CBD Is Taking the Cannabis Industry Mainstream

first_img It’s hard to imagine that just a few years ago, no one outside of the hard-core cannabis community knew about CBD. Today, it’s the one of hottest health products on the market. In 2018, sales of CBD hit nearly $600 million, and they’re projected to grow to $22 billion in just a few years more.CBD, or cannabidiol oil, is the nonpsychoactive chemical in cannabis plants. CBD won’t get you high, unlike its cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s important because it means CBD has been granted some privileges at the federal level refused so far to THC.The most important of those was passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which decriminalized the agricultural production of hemp, one of the main sources of CBD. Just a few months before that, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, the first CBD-based drug, for the treatment of seizures. That in turn led to the Drug Enforcement Administration moving CBD to the Schedule V drug list, making it the same as cough syrup and antidiarrhea medicine, rather than heroin and methamphetamines as it was previously under the Schedule I category.Related: These 6 Coffee Marketing Tricks Are a Perfect Blend for Your Cannabis BrandAll these shifts basically make CBD the Trojan horse of cannabis – meaning, CBD is welcomed in places THC can’t go, like the Estee Lauder’s Origins makeup line, Amazon’s warehouses and the aisles of Petco. In fact, CBD products can be sold even in states where THC-laden cannabis remains under prohibition. Companies will be able to establish relationships with retailers, build brand awareness with consumers and be ready to add THC to their product lineup when it eventually becomes legal at the federal level.The first step to creating a brand is making sure your product finds its audience. But that’s hard to do when your product is illegal in some (or all) forms in different parts of the country. Witness the recent controversy over Acreage Holdings’ attempt to buy a Super Bowl ad featuring people who had been helped by cannabis. If you can’t advertise on TV (or in print or online in some places) it’s incredibly challenging to build a brand. People who want to know more about cannabis have to seek out dispensaries, if they’re even available in that state, and educate themselves about different brands.CBD is finding ways around those problems. Tilray Inc. recently signed a $100 million deal with Authentic Brands, whose portfolio includes Juicy Couture, Nine West and Jones New York, to develop and distribute cannabis products. Initially, that will mean CBD items such as foot creams and mints in retail stores and malls across the country. Eventually, it could mean those same brands expand into THC products. Companies like Constellation Brands, makers of Corona beer, and tobacco giant Altria are also getting into the CBD game with billion-dollar investments.Related: 5 New Cannabis Trends You Need to KnowDeals like these are helping CBD producers build the necessary infrastructure, such as sales and distribution networks, which can be exploited for products that contain THC once it’s legal at the federal level. The same is true of production and retail spaces, which can even be built in places where cannabis is illegal, then repurposed once prohibition is lifted.CBD also is leading the way in breaking down any remaining stigma associated with cannabis in the mind of the general public. As more and more CBD products find their way to shelves across the country, mainstream consumers are gaining a greater familiarity with CBD and its properties and uses. That growing ease with cannabidiol oil is leading to a rethinking of cannabis itself. It’s evolving from a slightly shady recreational drug to a useful lifestyle product and superfood that relieves pain, fights inflammation and lessens the effects of cancer treatments. Ultimately, as the last of the stigma fades away, more consumers will enter the market, and having become experienced users of CBD, it will be easy to expand their palate to include a trusted CBD brand’s new THC products.That’s just the beginning. There are myriad more subtle ways that CBD is helping to normalize cannabis. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is now allowed to fund hemp research with government grants. Growers are eligible for federal crop insurance to protect their investments, and in some cases, even to federally subsidized crop insurance. States are offering tax incentives to CBD companies to build or renovate factory spaces. All these financial relationships are setting the stage for a time when the prohibitions against THC are lifted.Related: Here’s the Medical Cannabis Super Bowl Ad CBS Refused to RunThe growth of CBD could also lead to easing of financial restrictions on cannabis. Right now cannabis producers can’t work with banks, which means much of the business still takes place using cash. But it likely won’t be long before hemp growers and CBD producers can walk in and open a bank account – or buy an online ad. Facebook, Instagram and Google ban cannabis ads on their platforms.Over the next few years, consumers will start discovering their favorite CBD brands, which eventually will make them natural customers of that brand’s THC products. Next Article –shares CBD Is Taking the Cannabis Industry Mainstream Download Our iOS App Add to Queue Image credit: OlegMalyshev | Getty Images 5 min read Over the next few years, consumers will start discovering their favorite CBD brands, which eventually will make them natural customers of that brand’s THC products. Guest Writer Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Jason Vegotsky CRO of KushCo Holdings Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. February 26, 2019 Free Green Entrepreneur App CBDlast_img read more

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Report Twitter to List on NYSE Fearing IPO Mishap on Nasdaq

first_imgTechnology Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » Report: Twitter to List on NYSE, Fearing IPO Mishap on Nasdaq Add to Queue 2 min read Brian Patrick Eha September 24, 2013center_img Next Article Twitter reportedly plans to list itself on the New York Stock Exchange rather than the Nasdaq when it becomes a publicly traded company.The reason for avoiding Nasdaq, which lists many tech companies, is the fear of a glitch-plagued IPO like the one Facebook suffered last year, according to an exclusive report by Facebook’s first trading day was a mess of delays and technical problems that led to some trades not going through. The Securities and Exchange Commission fined Nasdaq $10 million for the botched IPO, citing Nasdaq’s “poorly designed systems and hasty decision-making.”Twitter’s IPO, which will likely take place in late 2013 or early 2014, is expected to bring in about $1.5 billion for the social network, reports.Twitter did not respond to’s request for comment.On September 12, Twitter announced via its own social network that it had confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a planned IPO. The confidential filing was made possible by a provision of the JOBS Act that went into effect last year.The stealth filing option is only available for companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Twitter is expected to earn $583 million in advertising revenue this year, and come close to $1 billion in ad earnings next year.Like many companies on the verge of an IPO, Twitter is seeking a line of revolving credit. With Goldman Sachs said to be leading the IPO, that leaves rival firms JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley — who also reportedly will have roles in the IPO — to lead the credit line of $500 million to $1 billion. This stockpile of cash will keep Twitter flush in the event that its market debut has to be put on hold.Related: Wall Street to Nasdaq: What’s Your Problem? Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals –shareslast_img read more

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Nostalgic for Old Viruses The Malware Museum Has You Covered

first_img Next Article David Meyer Computer viruses have been around for decades, yet they have perhaps escaped the kind of nostalgia afforded to, say, old games.No longer — if you have a hankering to relive the feeling of seeing ’80s and ’90s malware, but without the panic they might have caused at the time, welcome to the Malware Museum.The repository was knocked together by Mikko Hypponen, the chief research officer at Finnish security firm F-Secure, and Jason Scott, the software collections curator at the Internet Archive.Hypponen told Fortune the move was based on the facts that he had a large collection of malware from his 25 years in the business, and the Internet Archive had recently introduced an emulator for old MS-DOS software.Set live on Friday, the collection comprises emulations that show the messages and animations victims would often see when their computer had been infected. Of course, the destructive bits have been taken out — these memories are safe for work.One notable gem is the Frodo virus, which was one of the first of its kind to operate by stealth. Spread via floppy disk (these were the pre-web days), it caused infected systems to hang every Sept. 22, the birthdate of both Bilbo and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings. It displayed the words “Frodo Lives” while doing so.The less-destructive Ambulance virus sends an ASCII-art ambulance across the screen, accompanied by a piercing siren. Q-Walker, which features an odd-looking gentleman striding across the screen, is at least in color.Hypponen’s personal favorite is Casino, which would force the victim to play a game — if they won, they would get their files back, but if they lost, the malware would wipe their hard drive.“The main difference is that most of the malware we find today is trying to make money,” he said. “The majority is done by organized crime — they make money with banking Trojans and ransom Trojans.”“The old things we look at today were written by teenage boys who were bored. None were trying to make money — that’s why they play music and have cartoon characters. They had no other motive than trying to make a point.”Of course, if old games are more your thing, then the Internet Archive has you covered on that front too. The 20-year-old project also notably launched an archive of political TV ads last month, to make sure nobody forgets candidates’ promises.This article was updated to include the interview with Hypponen. –shares Nostalgic for Old Viruses? The Malware Museum Has You Covered. Add to Queue Screenshot of the vintage virus, as featured in the Malware Museum. This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 3 min read Cybersecurity Image credit: Internet Archive February 5, 2016 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

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Gartner Reveals Three Key Strategies for Marketers to Uncover Target Audiences

first_imgExperts Discuss the Growing Challenges of Audience Segmentation and Advertising Strategy at Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, Taking Place April 29-May 1, in San DiegoWhile marketers today are faced with ever-growing challenges when it comes to uncovering and targeting key audiences, Gartner, Inc. has identified three strategies for marketers to better identify and engage their target audiences.Gartner analyst Eric Schmitt explains the growing challenges of audience segmentation and advertising strategy at Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo. #GartnerMKTG #CMO #advertising #marketingExperts at Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo today discussed these growing challenges. They also shared how marketers can overcome them, and better segment and reach their target audiences.“Marketers today are faced with the tough task of overcoming media fragmentation and changing consumer behaviors. At the same time, they are trying to work around the fact that consumers are more often buying out of ads, by subscribing to services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix,” said Eric Schmitt, senior director at Gartner. “Then layer in more competition for attention, higher media prices and often more clutter. Marketers are playing ‘hide-and-seek’ with their target audiences, and they are often coming up short.” Marketing Technology News: Vyond Announces End of Beta for Vyond Studio, Enhanced Security FeaturesMarketers must remember that the “where,” “when” and “how” are often just as important as the “who” when it comes to reaching target audiences. To that end, the three strategies for marketers to better identify and engage their target audience include:Define your audience with care“In the era of big data, we sometimes lose sight of the big picture. Too often, we start in the weeds, tactically targeting and measuring,” said Mr. Schmitt. “Instead, marketers need to take a top-down approach to their target audience and err on the side of inclusiveness, as you can always refine later. In advertising, multiple audience segments and views are a fact of life.”There are many ways to activate target audiences in ad campaigns. These include the use of first-party data, as well as third-party data from digital ad tech tools, media platforms, compiled files and media panel sources. These data and tool choices are closely linked to the media marketers’ plan to activate — whether digital display, video, social or mass media such as TV and radio. Media activation entails considerations including cost, scale, precision, accuracy, persistency and portability — and, most importantly, privacy.“Marketers have ownership of their audience definition. That means they must ensure target segments are concisely articulated, have quality and integrity, adhere to high privacy standards, and are deployed as consistently as possible across media,” added Mr. Schmitt.Diversify and coordinate your media plan“When investing ad dollars to media, the three issues that marketers run into are reach, frequency and how much of both of those is actually wasted,” noted Mr. Schmitt. “To best tackle these issues head on, marketers must focus on diversifying and coordinating their media plan.”According to Gartner, one way to do this is to analyze and manage audience overlap across media, paying close attention to the biggest budget line items, and the places where consumer behavior is changing fastest.For example, different social media have substantial variance in audience base. Similarly, consumer TV viewing behaviors are rapidly changing — with over-the-top (OTT) quickly gaining traction. Gartner recommends taking an “Integrated Video Planning” approach, where traditional TV and digital initiatives are completely aligned.“The goal here is to coordinate — and someday, unify — budgeting, metrics, creative, scheduling and organization,” said Mr. Schmitt.Marketing Technology News: SRAX Receives $1 Million Investment to Launch BIGtoken Asia, Increasing Access to Over 1 Billion Internet Users to Own and Earn from their DataMake the most of imperfect measurementGartner research shows that by diversifying campaigns across media — integrating TV and digital campaigns — marketers are more likely to boost their audience reach than keeping campaigns siloed.To get the most out of a challenging measurement environment, Gartner recommends that marketers focus on cross-media reach and performance metrics, especially in high-spend and high-growth media. Marketers should tap agency and ad tech partners to craft new use cases, and leverage marketing mix modeling and attribution.“Marketers have to expect a patchwork set of imperfect metrics and make the most of it — concentrate on the handful of indicators that matter most, like cost-per-incremental reach point,” Mr. Schmitt said.Marketing Technology News: Malicious and Disruptive Ads Account for 1 in Every 100 Impressions According to New Confiant Research Amazon Prime Videoconsumer TVEric SchmittGartnerGartner Marketing Symposium/XpoMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleWhy You Should Consider Embedding Analytics into Current Business ProcessesNext ArticleSugarCRM Acquires SaaS Marketing Automation Innovator Salesfusion Gartner Reveals Three Key Strategies for Marketers to Uncover Target Audiences PRNewswireMay 23, 2019, 11:05 pmMay 24, 2019 last_img read more

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Using stateoftheart 3D printers to create dissolvable medical implants

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 9 2018As a kid, Michael Sealy was tall. A little clumsy, he says. And he has lasting proof: two metal screws in his left elbow.The southpaw underwent surgery after tripping and fracturing that elbow in the fifth grade. Surgeons inserted the screws to hold his ulna bone together. The bone healed. The screws remained.”It starts to hurt,” Sealy said of the elbow. “Sometimes it seems to be correlated with cold weather or a storm front moving in. Other times, it hurts — and of course my wife doesn’t believe me — when I’m doing chores, like carrying in the jug of milk or lifting clothes out of the washing machine.”Now an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sealy has mixed business with that displeasure by pioneering a novel approach to a decades-long quest.”Instead of having these permanent metal implants, let’s have one that degrades over time,” he said. “Let’s eliminate this whole idea of a second surgery to have these implants removed.”It’s a major challenge for multiple reasons. But the university has equipped Nebraska Engineering with technology commensurate to that challenge: the first 3D printer in the world that can integrate multiple materials and manufacturing processes while also printing highly reactive metals such as magnesium.In the human body, magnesium is an essential mineral that actually helps maintain the structural integrity of bones. Yet it also degrades quickly when exposed to oxygen, water and salts, all of which are abundant in the body.That combination of familiarity and reactivity, Sealy said, makes magnesium a prime candidate to become the primary ingredient in dissolvable screws, plates and other medical implants that could eliminate follow-up surgeries or a lifetime of aches during snowstorms.To reinforce magnesium against the rigors of the body long enough to serve as an implant, Sealy began experimenting with a technique called laser shock peening as a graduate student.”That process is equivalent to taking a hammer and hitting your car with it,” he said. “I do the same thing, except that I do it with a laser — the laser’s my hammer — and I hit the implant to essentially make it harder and stronger.”The laser shock peening helped magnesium withstand initial corrosion tests so well that Sealy began thinking of his dissertation results as “lake-house data, because it was so good that I was going to commercialize the technology and buy a lake house off those results.”Sealy then began testing the long-term corrosion of magnesium parts in a fluid that simulated the aqueous environment of the body. This time, the results were more sobering: The screws lost 50 percent of their strength after just one week and 80 percent after two weeks. Sealy quickly realized that peening only the surface of the magnesium parts wouldn’t suffice.”With that, I got ‘cardboard-house results,'” he admitted with a laugh. “That was a little depressing. But that was one of my big motivations for coming to Nebraska. I realized that if I (wanted) to control the degradation of these implants not just on the outer surface, but all the way through the life of the device, I needed to get somewhere with a 3D metal printer that would allow me to print these magnesium implants.”Related StoriesTransobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinence’Text neck’ may be causing bone spurs in young peopleBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryNot just any 3D printer would do. He needed access to the sort of technology that was only just beginning to emerge. Nebraska Engineering offered him the opportunity to help direct its purchase of three state-of-the-art 3D printers.Those printers eliminate virtually all of the oxygen, moisture and other impurities that could react with magnesium — a fairly rare capability in itself. But they also allow Nebraska engineers to construct components layer by layer, which enables Sealy and his colleagues to incorporate multiple materials or build intricate internal structures.The other major benefit? Being able to apply various manufacturing treatments — including laser shock peening — to any or all of a part’s internal layers.”Then I can control corrosion all the way through these devices,” Sealy said. “This approach is essentially a way to print your own mechanical properties. It’s something that traditional manufacturing has never really had the ability to do before.”What’s unique about our printer is that it’s the first one where they actually combined these hybrid- and reactive-printing capabilities. I would argue this is probably the most advanced hybrid-additive manufacturing facility in the world, just because our equipment is so rare.”With that level of customization at his command, Sealy is now experimenting to answer multiple questions: How does peening individual layers affect the corrosion rate of a resulting part? What’s the optimal concentration of magnesium vs. other metals? Do those outcomes change based on which technique prints the parts?”That’s kind of the fun part: figuring out what these rules of thumb are for the different printing technologies across different material systems,” he said.Ultimately, Sealy said, the print-and-peen approach should help him design and construct magnesium implants that degrade at different rates inside the body. One model of clavicle plate or knee pin might degrade within a year, whereas another might dissolve over three or five years.”If you take me when I was in the fifth grade and broke my elbow, I was regenerating new bone tissue quickly,” Sealy said. “My bones were healing quickly, so I needed an implant that degraded quickly. If someone is a 75-year-old female with osteoporosis who maybe smoked her whole life, she doesn’t regenerate new bone tissue as fast. She may need an implant that degrades slowly. We can do that.” Source: read more

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Study finds link between early life antibiotic exposure and weight gain in

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 31 2018A pioneering study conducted within a nationwide network, the National Patient Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet), finds that antibiotic use at <24 months of age was associated with slightly higher body weight at 5 years of age. The study, "Early Life Antibiotic Use and Weight Outcomes in Children Ages 48 to <72 Months of Age," appears in the journal Pediatrics published online on October 31.Antibiotic overuse has been a major population health concern, primarily due to the dangers of increasing antibiotic resistance but, recently, interest in antibiotics' effect on weight has emerged. Antibiotics disrupt the natural balance of intestinal bacteria or gut microbiome. Because the microbiome has important effects on the body's metabolism and how food is digested, researchers have hypothesized that changes in weight might occur with microbiome disruptions. This issue is important for parents and their doctors, who often must decide whether children should receive antibiotics.Related StoriesRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down's syndromePCORnet is an innovative research network that facilitates research across healthcare institutions through use of a process whereby each institution organizes their data from electronic health records into a common form. The network also uses a variety of important innovations to protect patient privacy. Studies conducted in PCORnet also incorporate patient views in the design and conduct of the study.Previous studies have had conflicting results regarding the potential effect of antibiotics on weight. This new study is the largest to tackle the issue, involving a sample of over 360,000 children from 35 institutions across the country. Researchers examined the relationship between antibiotic use among children less than two years old and their weight at around five years old, analyzing such factors as: diagnosis of chronic conditions, number of antibiotic prescriptions given to children, and the specific types of antibiotics given.Results demonstrate that the effect of antibiotic use in early childhood and weight around age 5 was small -- less than a pound difference in weight for children of average height and weight receiving 4 or more courses of antibiotics, compared to children who received none. "While this small difference in weight might not be important for individual decisions regarding antibiotic prescribing by doctors and parents, these data may serve, in a small way, to further encourage efforts to decrease antibiotic use. The ability to conduct research on large, diverse populations in networks like PCORnet provides critical opportunities to examine important research questions, no matter the outcome." says Jason Block, lead author and Associate Professor of Population Medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School.last_img read more

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Skin diseases may be more prevalent than previously thought

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 20 2019Skin diseases are ranked as the fourth most common cause of human illness, but many affected people do not consult a physician. A new Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology study estimates the prevalence of skin diseases outside the typical medical setting.To include people who never or rarely seek medical aid, the study did not rely on health insurance data, but rather on data collected at the Munich Oktoberfest in Germany. Screening examinations were performed randomly on participating visitors.Related StoriesNew ‘virtual biopsy’ device developed to detect skin tumorsHair loss could soon be a thing of the past, say researchersCannabis ingredient shows promise as potential antibiotic for superbugsOf the 2,701 individuals in the study, at least one skin abnormality was observed in 1,662 of the participants (64.5 percent). The most common diagnoses were actinic keratosis (26.6 percent), rosacea (25.5 percent), and eczema (11.7 percent). Skin diseases increased with age and were more frequent in men (72.3 percent) than in women (58.0 percent). Nearly two-thirds of the affected participants were unaware of their abnormal skin findings.”Skin diseases might be even more prevalent than previously thought. Considering their significant impact on individual, family, and social life as well as their heavy economic burden caused by inadequate self- or non-physician treatment, the public health importance of skin diseases is underappreciated,” said senior author Dr. Alexander Zink, of the Technical University of Munich. “Information and awareness campaigns are needed to better address this neglected issue and to reduce the global burden of skin diseases.”Source: read more

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New midinfrared light source could help detect pollution

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 5 2019Researchers at EPFL have come up with a new middle infrared light source that can detect greenhouse and other gases, as well as molecules in a person’s breath. The compact system, which resembles a tiny suitcase, contains just two parts: a standard laser together with a photonic chip measuring a few millimeters across. The research is detailed in an article published in Nature Communications.The mid-infrared spectrum is especially useful for scientists because, at this wavelength range, light can detect particles that play an important role in the environment and in human health. Until now, however, infrared laser systems have proven difficult to transport because they involve complex, damage-prone hardware.The new technology, developed by researchers at EPFL, could be a game-changer. The team took a commercially available fiber laser and combined it with a micrometer waveguide chip to reliably generate light waves in the mid-infrared spectrum. They then added a spectrometer to demonstrate the potential of this light source, successfully detecting the presence and concentration of acetylene, a colorless and highly flammable gas.Related StoriesStudy reveals how air pollution affects the human body at the metabolite levelExposure to particulate matter can cause birth defects and fatalities during pregnancyNew small, optical nano-sensor could soon measure air pollutionHow does it work?The system uses a compact and robust fiber laser that emits light in a specific wavelength range. The beam is directed through a waveguide, measuring one micrometer (0.001 mm) across and half a millimeter long, which can alter the frequency of the light as it passes through. The system produces light in the mid-infrared spectrum, retaining 30% of the original signal strength. The researchers can even tune the wavelength of the light by adjusting the waveguide’s geometry.”This device sets a new benchmark for efficiency,” says Davide Grassani, one of the authors of the paper. “This is the first time anyone has created a fully integrated spectroscopic laser source. It does away with the painstaking process of precisely aligning all the parts in a conventional laser system.”The breakthrough came after the team refined key aspects of the system’s design – the waveguide geometry and material, and the wavelength of the original laser source. “Coming up with such a simple yet efficient and sturdy system involved a lot of design work,” says Camille Brès, project coordinator and head of the Photonic Systems Laboratory, part of EPFL’s School of Engineering.On-chip spectroscopyThis advancement paves the way for miniaturized mid-IR technologies – a wavelength range that scientists rarely get to work with. “Once we’ve developed the system further, we could well see on-chip detectors that scientists can easily carry out into the field,” adds Brès.The technology draws on research conducted at the Photonic Systems Laboratory, headed by Camille Brès, and the Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements, headed by Tobias Kippenberg (STI/SB).Source: read more

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